<< HEARTFIELD CHRONOLOGY – ALL YEARS1949 1950 1951 1952 1954 1956

Stefan Heym Demands Heartfield Recognition. “Tell Me, Do You Know What’s Become Of John Heartfield?” Berlin, 1954.

“Tell me, do you know what’s become of John Heartfield?”

This question, which sounds like the beginning of a detective story, is quite justified. It is almost as if one of the greatest and most original artists of or time had disappeared without a trace, disappeared without trace in our midst, in the GDR! […]

John Heartfield is well-known abroad. His works have been exhibited in the Soviet Union and in America with tremendous success. Not so in the GDR. Why? Are there perhaps people who believe Heartfield’s montages have to do with “formalism” because spines made from gold coins do not exist? Is that the reason why he is not encouraged to continue with his photomontages?

I believe that John Heartfield, considering his work and the magnitude of his art, deserves a place in the Academy. […]

And finally, I believe it would be well and good if one of those bodies that have to do with bestowing national awards seriously considered John Heartfield.

As a rule, national awards are given for books, plays, and films. But here lies a whole life’s work before us. Here is an artist who has proved all his life what he can do and where he stands. […]”

1954 Letter From Stefan Heym Demanding John Heartfield Recognition
1954 Letter From Stefan Heym Demanding John Heartfield Recognition

During this period, Heartfield can only find work as a stage set designer in Berlin theatres (Kammerspiele, Berliner Ensemble, etc.). He excels in this field as well, producing creative sets for David Berg and Bertolt Brecht.

Josef Stalin died in 1953. His reign of terror in the Soviet Union has finally comes to a close. Communism of the second half of the twentieth century has cost the lives of millions. Sergei Tretyakov, Heartfield’s close friend in Moscow and author of the Heartfield monograph, is among the dead.

Heartfield’s belief in communism as a solution to the world’s problems fades quickly with each year and each abuse of power.


Heartfield Defender

Stefan Heym
Stefan Heym, along with Bertoldt Brecht, insisted John Heartfield deserved a place in the Akademie Der Künste.

A Dictator Dies

Joseph Stalin Dies In 1953
The tyrant Joseph Stalin dies in 1953 and his reign of terror finally comes to a close.
Stefan Heym Heartfield Supporter, Berlin 1954

Heartfield Defender Stefan Heym

Stefan Heym Heartfield Recognition After Stalin's Death 1953

Joseph Stalin

Professor John J Heartfield is John Heartfield’s paternal grandson. Professor Heartfield presented Art & Politics, Politics & Art at the DADA WORLD FAIR in San Francisco. Please write to him about his live presentation regarding the relevance of his grandfather’s life and work to current events.

Dada Political Artist John Heartfield grandson, John Heartfield, Curator Official John Heartfield Exhibition